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Leadership Styles that Create Excellence


By Bisk
Leadership Styles that Create Excellence

In the fast-paced world of business, a great leader must be able to draw from a variety of resources to build a comprehensive leadership style that is dynamic, responsive and resilient. Managers and executives are unable to drive sustainable results on their own; they must rely on their teams and subordinates to deliver results. Those with the pragmatic leadership skills benefit from high performing teams.

Today’s workforce is becoming increasingly diverse. Accordingly, a great leader should be able to apply the most relevant approach from a  strong repertoire of leadership styles that can be dynamically modified to fit different situations involving individuals and teams. This is essential because, while situations and team dynamics will shift over time, leaders are expected to effectively drive success on a consistent and long-term basis.

The following six leadership styles are among the most effective and can be combined to produce a versatile set of leadership skills applicable across a wide range of industry settings. 

The Coach

The coaching leader is an expert at preparing team members for future leadership roles. These leaders are open to innovation and build teams that have the creative freedom to work from their individual strengths. This leadership style works best when:

  • The team has a well-developed sense of proficiency and self-discipline
  • The team is open to new ideas and invested in thinking outside the box with little top-down direction

This leadership style, alone or in combination with others, can help teams feel highly invested in the success of the organization. 

The Pace-Setter

The pace-setter leader emulates self-direction but exercises control over precise goals and assignments needed to complete tasks in tight timeframes. Creative autonomy is not a staple of this type of leadership style. Factors to keep in mind when building this style include:

  • The style is effective when multiple tasks need to be allocated and turned around quickly
  • Most effective with an experienced team

If this leadership style is not tempered with others, a team may start to feel overwhelmed and may begin to pull back personal engagement, especially for team members that need to feel an innovative spirit in their personal team contributions. 


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The Authority Figure

The authoritative leader drives teams toward centralized goals through mobilizing a common vision. This leadership style is effective when there has been significant change in an organization or in situations where a new team has just been built with members from many diverse settings. This style also can be effective when:

  • A team’s dynamic responds to inspiration and entrepreneurial goal-setting
  • A group is working together in a setting where the tasks are highly specialized and team members may not fully understand each other’s work

When working with a team of experts in different fields it is important to combine the visionary leadership aspects of this leadership style with more inclusive team communication. Since everyone on the team is needed to bring company goals to fruition, this teamwork angle can help alleviate possible antipathy of other experts on the team. 

The Coercive Leader

This leader assumes charge of everyone and typically manages by fear – “my way or the highway.” In times of emergency, corporate takeovers, cyber attacks or as a short-term response to extreme situations, this style can be highly effective. In today’s diverse work settings, a little of this management style can go a long way. Keep in mind:

  • People generally need to feel trusted, respected and have some level of autonomy in their professional lives
  • When used as a consistent, everyday leadership style, this way of managing people will most likely alienate them and reduce productivity

While it is important that there is a clear level of control in emergency situations, leadership styles that exercise extreme control over employees work autonomy could be considered generally counterproductive. 

The Affiliative Leader

In times of trouble, when a team has experienced a physical loss of a teammate, or a shift in company priorities has meant team downsizing, the affiliative leader understands a team’s emotional needs and builds up individuals by setting goals that build synergy. Some aspects of this style to keep in mind include:

  • While it is effective to build a team up; too much praise can prevent aggressive engagement and momentum toward top performance goals
  • This is a transitional leadership style best combined with other styles

When employing this leadership style, it is also important to remember to build a goal-based strategy to move past the troubling event and forward toward increased productivity and team excellence.

The Democratic Leader

The democratic leader is an expert at inspiring every team member’s unique contributions toward a common goal. In addition, this leadership style is focused on sustained engaged team participation. Other factors to consider include:

  • This leadership style works best when a project timeline has room for group meetings and consensus building discussions
  • Using this leadership style effectively means that participants will feel a deep sense of ownership in the outcome of the project

This leadership style is effective for group problem-solving and when a leader has taken a position where the team members are the experts on the subject matter. In projects with a tight turn around, a democratic leadership style will likely need to be modified to fit time constraints.

Becoming the Dynamic and Responsive Leader

Building a dynamic and responsive leadership style can be facilitated by seeking professional situations where career mentoring is possible in order to see many different leadership styles used effectively. In addition to learning from seasoned team leaders, it is also important to remain engaged in ongoing professional education. 

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Category: Strategic Leadership and Management